A medium-deep dive into philosophy - specifically, stoicism - this book was recommended by Kielyn Marrone, who I follow on social media after watching her the TV show "Alone" (where contestants are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and have to survive longer than other participants in order to win a big $$ prize). In Season 7, Kielyn stayed 80 days in the near-Arctic (shores of Great Slave Lake from mid-September through December). Watching her catch her first fish from the frozen lake was one of the most enjoyable moments on TV ever. She was the third last participant, and everything about her was intriguing and inspirational, including her frequent mentions of stoicism. On her Facebook page, she recommends this book; coincidentally, one of my current mentees is reading this book series by Ryan Holiday, and mentioned it during one of our earliest sessions. I took that as a sign.
Gratitude: in addition to checking in and keeping in touch with each other, we can also contribute to each other's morale and work wellness by taking time to show genuine appreciation and gratitude for the work of our teams and colleagues. This advice isn't just for leaders - we all contribute to our work relationships and enhance them by showing genuine gratitude through recognition and appreciation.
This past week, I’ve heard the following from colleagues and friends:
“I’m not accomplishing anything. What is the point of it all?”
“I’m supposed to have the day off today, but I’m attending this one important meeting. Is it okay if take the rest of the day after that?”
“I’d planned to be off last week but ended up working a few days. I can’t seem to catch up and I felt so guilty taking vacation when I’m behind on so many things.”
There were others, too, but these were the ones I remember most clearly, the most troubling to me. As I spoke with each person, and emphatically assured them of their own value and encouraged them to take some time for themselves, I was saddened again and again at the near despair of my colleagues. I also saw a bit of myself in each of them: these people who are a source of strength for others reaching the end of their own strength and needing a break.
At the same time as this was happening, I found a new-to-me blog site and blogger, with some great guidance on these topics. Here are the posts that helped me help them, and also helped myself in no small measure.
I’ve started a new lunch-and-learn series, the second of which is about purposeful networking. This based primarily on my previous posts on this topic, incorporating some new ideas based on reading and reviewing my own networking approach. So far, around 100 people have attended and participated in these lunch-and-learn sessions, and the feedback has been positive. My objective is to enable others to establish for themselves a purposeful network as a lifelong resource for their career and professional development.
I’ve written previously about strengths and strengths-finding and cultivating strengths. When I first started focusing on strengths with my coach, I was concerned that I was missing something by ignoring (or focusing less, anyway) on my weaknesses. But this seemed to be standard in a strengths-focused approach. I think the thinking is that weaknesses are typically less about character and more about skills; the latter can be improved by training. Also, building on strengths is not about changing but capitalizing and weaknesses are (potentially) off-set by strengths and so will be overcome somewhat naturally. I think this latter point is incorrect, as ignoring or failing to recognize a weakness can make it worse or at least leave it vulnerable.
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.